Concocting a Cure for Kids With IssuesBy Warner, Judith; New York Times,
Publication Date: March 14, 2010
Article discusses a therapy which its proponents claim can offer significant help for children with reading and learning problems, autism, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders, and coordination problems. Vision therapy, which is practiced by behavioral optometrists, uses equipment such as picture-viewing stereoscopes, prisms to improve focusing, Wii-like games for improving balance, and light boxes with blinking bright spots for pointing exercises that improve hand-eye coordination. A Visagraph, black goggles hooked up with infrared sensors, is often used to measure and track children’s eye movements while reading. Critics of the therapy argue that published research in its favor is largely anecdotal. The National Eye Institute, a branch of the National Institutes of Health, has published only one study on vision therapy, for the treatment of convergence insufficiency, a condition characterized by eyes not turning in well together for close work such as reading. The U.K. College of Optometrists likewise concluded, based on major reviews of literature on vision therapy, that the therapy was valid for convergence insufficiency, and also found it applicable for rehabilitating the vision of stroke and trauma patients. Vision therapy nonetheless remains very popular among parents of children with learning and attention disorders, despite its high cost which is not covered by insurance. The article cites some doctors’ concern that what lies behind the reported successes with the therapy is the Hawthorne effect: the fact that many mental health problems tend to get better when given intensive positive attention of almost any kind.
Assistive Products Discussed: VISAGRAPH SILENT READING ASSESSMENT
Published by: New York Times Company (Website:http://www.nytco.com)
Link to text: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/14/magazine/14vision-t.html?src=me